Here at Niners Nation, we're presenting a series called "90-in-90". We'll be looking at every player on the 49ers offseason roster, one player per post, from now until the start of training camp.
The 49ers seem to keep adding running backs every year lately, don't they? The big names at the position include Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. The three of them make up a formidable backfield rotation with guys who can do different things to keep a defense off-balance.
Then they went and added Marcus Lattimore in the 2013 NFL Draft, a guy who would have been the top RB prospect had he been healthy. Oh, let's not forget about Anthony Dixon, who made the 2012 roster after being considered a long-shot throughout last year's offseason.
Then there's Jewel Hampton. You might not think about him much because he spent much of the year inactive on the PUP list in 2012, then didn't see any action once he was elevated to the 53-man roster after Kendall Hunter suffered an Achilles injury. Well, Hampton is healthy and fighting for a roster spot this year, so let's take a look at him.
As mentioned, Hampton didn't have any official stats in 2012 despite being on the active roster for five regular season games and the entire postseason. So let's take a look at his college stats instead:
2008: As a freshman backup to Shonn Greene at Iowa, Hampton had 91 carries for 463 yards and 7 touchdowns.
2009: Hampton did not play (red-shirted) after suffering a knee injury in the offseason.
2010: Hampton injured his knee early in the season, posting 114 yards on 27 carries in just two games.
2011: Transferred to Southern Illinois. 230 carries for 1,121 yards, 17 TD. Added 163 yards receiving.
Hampton clearly had the talent, even when playing for a larger school at Iowa. He seemingly showed that he had recovered from his injuries during his final year in college, despite playing against "lesser competition" at Southern Illinois. The 49ers liked him enough to put him on the PUP and then activate him after the allotted time had passed.
He's a shorter, thick RB who plays with vision and power. He has quick feet and played in a pro-style offense in college, which should help with pass protection and other assignments.
Potential 2013 Impact:
If Hampton does make the roster in 2013, he'd fill a backup role and perhaps be inactive on game days barring an injury to one of the starters. Should he get his chance to play, I'd imagine he would still probably see less than a handful of touches per game. The 49ers tend to use two RBs at most and haven't shown the tendency to rotate three or more into the game very often. This could change, and as an Iowa fan I'd love to see Hampton excel.
Odds of making the roster:
I'd say Hampton has long odds to make the squad long-term, but with Lattimore likely landing on the PUP to start the season, and the team rostering a fifth RB in Brandon Jacobs last year, it's possible that Hampton has a spot on the roster, at least until Lattimore is healthy.
The other possibility is that Anthony Dixon's time as a 49er comes to a close, opening a spot for Hampton, although I don't believe he's played much special teams, likely a key to keeping a 4th/5th RB who doesn't figure to touch the ball on offense much.